by Bonnie K. Carenen
One lesson Indonesians have learned and which Haiti is experiencing too is that earthquakes don’t kill people, but broken buildings and broken infrastructure do. Church World Service understands how natural and human disasters affect individuals and local communities all over the world. We build short- and long-term partnerships to serve people who are often overlooked, often anticipating and responding to natural and human disasters.
CWS has worked in places like Indonesia and in Haiti for generations, promoting economic development and disaster resiliency through many local partners. The recent earthquake in Haiti touched the CWS Indonesia staff in personal ways. Several colleagues and partners were in Port-au-Prince during the earthquake and had to be rescued after being trapped for 55 hours. Staff at CWS Indonesia also experienced profound devastation after the 2004 tsunami, and have worked diligently for more than five years to help recover and rebuild since then.
Damage in Port - au- Prince caused by the 6.1 R.S. Earthquake
(REUTERS/Reuters TV, courtesy www.alertnet.org)
Witnessing the earthquake in Haiti on television, CWS Indonesia staff have a deep understanding of the immediate and long-term consequences for the people of Haiti, and for the many organizations committed to development and recovery there. A few days after the earthquake CWS staff from around Indonesia gathered for a briefing on our partners and colleagues who were in Haiti, and for a moment of silence and prayer to show our solidarity with all in Haiti who are suffering.
The scale of need and the scale of response to the earthquake in Haiti are both tremendous. As a staff that learned from the tsunami and the flood of international aid that followed it, we offer our solidarity, experience and wisdom to our Haitian colleagues in this time of devastation. In Aceh and around Indonesia we have seen that hope is reborn in partnerships that make our work both meaningful and effective. [BC/I/2010]